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{Alexis at 1 month old}

I always thought newborns were like almost everything in life, by the numbers. I guess I never really gave babies a thought, never wondered what people who just have had a baby go through. But I just assumed that it would be the exact same experience like everything else in life. Everything I’ve encountered has made sense, has been about the effort and knowledge you put in: high school, college, relationships, work.
Newborns are a whole different breed. Newborns aren’t by the numbers. Newborns don’t make sense.

They sleep less than every book says, they eat more, they fuss the rest of the time. They smile and coo at the most random things, like the picture of you and your husband on a cruise on the wall behind the glider. They are the hardest to put to sleep when they want to sleep.

For us practicing AP style parenting has been what works. Do what she wants, give her as much love, food and attention as she will ask for and then some more.

{Alexis at 2 weeks old. Onesie by Eva Spin Dress:}

It’s not always easy and ALWAYS exhausting but it’s the only thing that makes sense to us.

We’ve been able to keep crying to a minimum. She’s generally a very happy baby, but when she needs something she lets us know.

The most difficult thing for me about a new and more importantly first baby is the constant second guessing yourself if you’re doing it right. Cry isn’t the best communication tool even if you learn to disipher it a little bit. Newborns are SO extremely vulnerable that you worry about everything.
You worry about supporting their head, about not overheating them or leaving them too cold, about swaddling too tight or not tight enough, about keeping them comfy, about them being upset, about spending enough time with them, about their sleeping and eating patterns.

{Alexis at 3 weeks old. Sleeper is from Finn+Emma}

These are not conscious worries, but they are always in the back of your mind. And with that you become just as vulnerable yourself.

The first month was tough, emotionally, mentally. But once all the questions were more or less answered, came pure enjoyment of our baby. You know what she wants and when she wants it.

We’re not out of the woods yet. From what I’ve gathered, I don’t think we will
ever be. You enter the Forbidden Forest the day that stick turns blue and just hope that you can navigate and deal with the things it throws at you well enough.

Alexis is sleeping better nights. MUCH better nights. 3-4 hour stretches at a time. A good night means going to bed at 10pm, waking up at 2-3pm to eat, then again at 5 am and then waking up for the day at 7:00-7:30am. A bad night means waking up every 2 hours.

{Alexis at 1 week old}

It’s been incredibly hard to put her to sleep though. Most of the times, I spend 8pm to 10 pm just rocking her and shushing her until she finally passes out around 10. The whole two hours is squirm and fuss central.

About 2-3 weeks ago she became very interested in her surroundings. She’s always been a very alert baby and wanted nothing but to be carried around to look at things ever since she was born. But 2 weeks ago she took it to a WHOLE new level. If she’s not being stimulated, it’s the end of the world. However, with her being only two months old, her nervious system isn’t mature enough for all this stimulation, so she ends up OVERstimulating and going into a HUGE inconsolable cryfest. This is exactly what happened the few times I was gone and my hubby and my mom couldn’t calm her down. Back then we didn’t know about this new development of hers. We had no clue what was wrong.

{Alexis at 4 weeks old}

Nowadays, I have learned that with the amount of stimuli she gets, she needs to go to sleep within 50 minutes of waking. If I don’t start rocking her around that time, if I get to the point where she starts fussing, it’s way too late. So recently, we’ve had a nice little routine going: wake up, eat, play play play, sleep, wake up, eat, play play play….and on and on and on.

She started spacing out her feedings to 2 hours this week, which is freaking me out, because every time she’d fuss I’d try to give her the boob but she won’t take it 🙂 So after I figured out the day sleep issue, I now know that if I hear a peep, she needs to sleep 🙂

Oh and she slept for 5 hours the other night. I think that’s considered sleeping through the night. So weird to think of that. I am so used to my little Alexis waking up often.

{Alexis at 3 days old.  Sleeper is from Finn+Emma}}

So this has been very disjointed, I realize. I cannot write “short” spur of the moment posts like these without them being a mess of thoughts.

I have to say I’ve been in a very good place lately, in a sort of equilibrium. Work is good, Lexi is good, I’m enjoying blogging like never before, I’ve gotten time management down, I don’t feel I’m slacking on anything I should be doing, I feel good. Now if I could only get into a work out routine, the world would be a happy place. I think I’ll start working on squeezing some Pilates in first thing in the morning. Vsemu Svoe Vremya! (“everything in its own time”)

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  • Reply
    Elena C.
    April 13, 2012 at 8:35 AM

    Oh I’m so glad everything is falling into places! 🙂
    And omg if all babies are soooo different!
    Yesterday we had a dinner at our friends’ place, they have a 2-year-old girl.
    Luisa’s pregnancy was really difficult, and labor was complicated,
    yet the baby is the calmest ever and has slept through the night since day 1!!!! Whoa!
    Seriously, there’s no logic, no sense, you just need to deal with what you’ll have, and you don’t know what you’ll have 🙂
    You guys are doing a great job!

  • Reply
    Erica Castillo @Mi Todo
    April 13, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    i’m reading this at 3 am after my first 5 hour stretch of sleep since i was pregnant. i definitely appreciate it! newborns can be easy sometimes but other times… not so much.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Sounds like colic!!
    Should grow out of it!!
    Keep on truckin’!

  • Reply
    Earthy Nicole
    April 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    I think these are the kind of posts your readers have been really wanting to read from you, Elena. A woman becoming a mother is a beautiful thing and there’s simply not enough words to even partially encompass all it entails but any writings of motherhood are always special and you especially will enjoy looking back on this when Lexi is older. Savor every moment. xx

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Elena, thank you so much for posting this. It’s nice to get the perspective of someone going through this stage right now instead of from an experienced author who went through the process several years ago. By the way, her ruffle dress is so cute!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Newborns are hard to figure out. Especially your first. The 2nd one is quite a bit easier but you still have moments where you don’t know what you’re doing! ; ) Glad things are getting a little easier. Sleep definitely helps.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    I have much bigger ‘babies’ and I still second guess all of my parenting decisions! I think that just means we want to do our best. <3

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Glad she is sleeping better and getting in to a predictable”routine”! Now is a good time to read up on the 4 month wakeful period 😉

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    i don’t think your posts are a “mess” of thoughts at all! i appreciate all your honesty and insight.. after all, i’ll have my own little one to look after in 5 months!!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    they are by the numbers….if you are drunk and understand fuzzy moon math. The night time sleep you said is happening now is considered “normal” (by my standards at least…thats how both of my kids were when they were newborns). There is also a “method” for schedules its called the EASY (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time….the “you time” is a joke tho really because I always slept during my “you time” because I was so exhausted…our EASY was really AESY tho because he prefered to eat right before a nap/bedtime) …..I find it amusing that they wrote an entire book on the EASY method –which I bought because I was 3rd and 4th guessing myself….and the entire time my child was on the EASY method… seems that most babies but themselves on it all on their own.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    Hi there – I hope this isn’t a crass question… I’m a soon-to-be first time mom as well, and am curious/fearful about weight loss after. You were very open and vulnerable about weight gain leading up, and look great now; i’m wondering if you’re planning to write at all about your body post-baby?

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Really enjoyed this post. It’s crazy how much she sounds like Riley… totally happy if all her needs are met (being held, fed, warm, clean, etc..) but when she gets overtired and/or overstimulated, watch out! We used to have to take Riley away from everyone and everything and sit in a dark room to calm her down and remove all sorts of stimulation. Didn’t always work, but sometimes it did!

    I do have a question for you… where does she sleep? In the co-sleeper? Do you guys still bed share at all? I know every baby is different of course, but I think bed sharing with Riley was the fastest way to get her to sleep and stay sleeping at that age, but it’s not for everyone.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      April 13, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      I find it amazing how alike Ri and her are. I hope she’s gonna be just as smart.
      We’ve been bed sharing since day 5. That’s the only way she’d sleep. And I love it!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Not colic, but definitely high needs! My first was like that also. She never slept, except for her first 2 weeks when I would have to wake her up to eat. She is 8 now and a sweet child 🙂

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Have you tried putting her down much earlier for the night.
    I put my babies down for the night by 7pm at the latest, even from the earliest days – seemed to minimize the fussing.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      April 13, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      I have tried. We started with in bed by 8 since that’s where she seemed to fall, but at some point she started waking up at 9 and then 10 and then go for her longer stretches. That’s what happens now.
      They are constantly changing and yesterday she slept from 7 to 10 so she might be ready to go sleep earlier now. We’ll see. Plus I’m gonna take Meegs advice and do a better night routine. I haven’t been able to do once because of how she slept/ate until now

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    This is making me realize JUST how lucky we were with Jasper. We used to have to wake him up (by undressing him and making him cold otherwise he would sleep through Everything) every 4 hrs at night just to get him to eat then right back to sleep. And he was sleeping through the night (as in 10 PM to 5AM then back to sleep till 9) by 3.5 months. I don’t think I realized just how lucky we truly were! Even now at almost five he still takes a daily 2 hr nap and 11-12 hours at night- some kids are just awesome sleepers! Everyone tells me there’s no way we will be as lucky when this baby comes (1.5 weeks or less!) so soon I’ll probably really get to see how the other side has it.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    I like these less edited, more “messy” posts! They are real and show your voice as a new mom.
    And you are right… babies, they are definitely in a class all their own!

    I wanted to say that we had a similar experience with my (now 2 year old) daughter when she was around Alexis’s age. She would take forever to go down at night… I mean an hour or two of walking up and down the dark hallway. (Every baby is different disclaimer here!) For us, we actually needed to bump her bedtime a little earlier and we started a nighttime routine. It worked wonders! Every night we would read her the same two books, and sing her the same song, then nurse and rock to sleep. The routine of it helped calm her down and sort of signaled her body that it was night sleep time (vs. daytime nap time). Obviously, you figure out what works for you, but I just wanted to tell you about our experiences (from another AP mama!).

    In any case, your daughter is beautiful, and I’m glad you’re enjoying these crazy newborn days!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    I have quickly learned that AP works well with my daughter (Jane – 4 weeks old, preemie) and has taken to only being able to nap on my chest during the day and also has a pattern of going back to sleep after feeding around 3am, only to wake at 5am. I then bring her to bed, place her on my chest and she sleeps until 8am.

    I was just reading some old posts and I’m curious if you are speaking exclusively in Russian to Alexis using the OPOL technique?

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      April 13, 2012 at 9:19 PM

      I planned on doing OPOL but it’s just too hard for me at this point. I just don’t think in Russian anymore. So I end up doing 70% Russian and 30% English when I either forget or hubby island to understand.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    These pictures!!!!!! Elena, you’re freaking beautiful. And Lexi….omgeekers, she’s just insanely adorable. xoxo

  • Reply
    April 14, 2012 at 4:30 AM

    Why does her hair look blonde in week 3 and dark brown in week 4?? Surely not photoshopped? 😉

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      April 14, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      Omg you people are seriously crazy! You have no clue about how photography, light, exposure and editing works. So anything that looks different must be photoshopped.
      There are plenty of ways the same photograph can look depending on how the light falls, what split tonning I used, whether it’s overexposed or underexposed.
      It just cracks me up getting comments like that.
      But I guess lack of knowledge breeds stupidity.

      • Reply
        April 14, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        Uhm, I was actually only making a joke! Your baby is already gorgeous.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          April 14, 2012 at 11:16 AM

          Well I’m glad you were making a joke because some people just kill me with their: “Is this photoshopped? Is that photoshopped?”
          Yes, everything you see is photoshopped and nothing is real!

          Sorry I took it out on you lol

          • Elle
            April 14, 2012 at 11:30 AM

            I thought the 😉 was enough warning I was just teasing! Im sorry if my comment was rude.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            April 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM

            No it wasn’t rude if you didn’t mean it as rude.
            You can’t always tell the tone of smth written even with a winky face. Especially first thing in the morning

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      April 14, 2012 at 9:03 AM

      I don’t actually think most of people who make dumb comments like this even understand what photoshop can or cannot

    • Reply
      April 14, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      My daughter’s hair looks like different shades in almost every photo I take. A lot of this has to do with taking photos with a DSLR camera, it isn’t a typical point and shoot. Lighting and as Elena said whether a photo is over or under exposed can affect the photo greatly. Some photos my daughter looks like she has light blonde hair (which she does) others her hair may take on a “red” tone. All depends on what type of lighting the photo was taken in and where the photo was taken. Not everything comes down to photo editing. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jamie @ Food in Real Life
    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Love this post. Your stream of consciousness echoes so much of what goes on in my head (I have a two month old as well). I also find that she must sleep within 1 hour of waking up or else things get bad, quickly. She is a very happy and calm baby but needs that morning nap or the day gets off on the wrong foot!

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